Burn Care


If you have any questions about dressing changes, please call the clinic at 916-453-2180.

Printable version of Burn Care Discharge Instructions.

Dressing Changes

  1. Give pain medication 30 minutes before taking off dressings.
  2. Wash hands.
  3. Remove the old dressings
  4. Soak the wound in the bathtub to take off dressings that are stuck to the skin.
  5. Throw away old dressings.
  6. Look at the burned areas for signs of infection.

These are the signs of infection:

  • a change in the color or amount of drainage from the burn
  • more redness around the wound
  • swelling in the burned area
  • more pain around the burn
  • a warm feeling of the skin near the burn
  • a bad smell from the burn
  • a fever of 101° F or higher when your child does not have a cold or other infection that could cause a fever

If you notice any signs of infection, finish changing the dressing, then call the clinic at 916-453-2180.


  1. Clean tub with a bathroom cleanser.
  2. Rinse tub to remove germs or tub cleanser.
  3. Wash hands.
  4. Test the water temperature before placing the child in the water. Make sure the water is not too warm.
  5. Wash the body and all the burns with a mild soap, such as Dial or Ivory, and a clean washcloth.
  6. Rinse soap off using clean water.
  7. Pat wet skin with a clean soft towel.

Wound Care for Healed Burns

  1. Wash hands.
  2. Apply AquaPhor or Eucerin cream to the healed skin after bathing.
  3. Massage the cream on the skin until it is absorbed.

Face and Ear Care

  1. Wash hands.
  2. Apply Bacitracin ointment to all open areas on the face or ears.
  3. Do not put bandages over the ointment.
  4. Put on more ointment if it rubs off.

Open Wounds on the Body (except face and ears)

  1. Wash hands.
  2. Apply Bacitracin ointment to a sheet of Adaptic or Xeroform.
  3. Cut the Adaptic or Xeroform to the size of the open areas.
  4. Place the Bacitracin-covered Adaptic or Xeroform on the open burn areas.
  5. Cover the Adaptic or Xeroform with gauze.
  6. Tape the end to secure it.

Protecting the Skin from the Sun

  • Do not let the sun shine on newly healed skin.
  • Cover new skin with hats, long sleeves and long pants to avoid the sunlight.
  • Protect exposed areas of new skin with a sunscreen SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher.
  • Follow the directions on the bottle of sunscreen.
  • Re-apply sunscreen after swimming, sweating, or wiping the skin.
  • Protecting the Skin from Exposure to Heat and Cold

Deep Burns

If your child had very deep burns, he or she may not feel the temperatures as well as before the burn. Extreme temperatures will injure the new skin.

Protect the skin from hot or cold objects. Examples of things that may damage the skin are:

  • hot water
  • heating pads
  • electric blankets
  • open flames
  • ice
  • ice bags
  • snow
  • vinyl car seats that are hot or cold

Large Burns

  • Children with large burns may not sweat like before the burn. If your child cannot sweat, the body cannot cool off. Do not let your child overexert him or herself and become over-heated.
  • Stay in the shade when outside.
  • If your child gets too hot, give the child cool water or juice to drink.
  • apply a cool wet cloth to the child’s face and neck.
  • Have the child take a lukewarm bath.

Dry Skin/Itching

  • New skin will be dry and itchy. To help relieve the itch:
  • Apply the lubricating cream (AquaPhor or Eucerin) as the doctor recommended.
  • Do not use lotions or creams that contain alcohol or perfumes on the healed burn areas.
  • Keep your child’s fingernails short and clean to prevent them from scratching and damaging new skin.
  • Patting the itchy areas can sometimes help.
  • Talk to your doctor. There may be a medication your child can take to help.

Blisters and Bruises

  • New skin is easily damaged. To help avoid getting blisters and bruises on the new skin, wear soft, loose-fitting clothes.
  • Wear pressure garments or ace wraps as instructed.
  • If a blister appears, treat it like an unhealed burn. Follow the directions for burn care to open wounds on the body. Wear pressure garments or ace wraps over the bandaged blister.


  • Burns often scar. Follow the instructions the Physical Therapist gave you to reduce the scarring and to maintain mobility.
  • Exercise as instructed.
  • Perform scar massage as instructed.
  • Wear splints as instructed.
  • Wear pressure garments as instructed